BRUNSWICK — While Cole Zamiska set up Brunswick’s football team Friday night, teammate Ethan Flanigan finished the job.
The senior tandem had a hand in four of the Blue Devils’ five touchdowns, which was enough to put away pesky Elyria 38-23 in a Greater Cleveland Conference game at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium.
Zamiska ran Brunswick’s shotgun offense with precision, using his arm and legs to help the Blue Devils (4-3, 2-2) overcome a number of charges by the Pioneers (1-6, 1-3) to lead 17-10 at the half. Then Flanigan took direct snap after direct snap to close.
Not too shabby for two guys that weren’t planning on playing much quarterback when the season began.
“We’re asking both of those guys to do some things that both of them didn’t really start out doing,” Brunswick coach Mark Pinzone said. “(Zamiska) has a little experience at it, but he was focusing in at that slot receiver spot all summer long, so it’s been a lot for him. And then to ask (Flanigan) to do something he hasn’t done since probably grade school, they really stepped up.”
Zamiska rumbled 83 yards on just his second carry and never looked back, finishing with 189 yards total offense.
Dual-threat quarterback Dontae Beckett (15-of-32, 175 yards; 24 carries, 122 yards) pulled Elyria to 17-16 just minutes into the second quarter, but Flanigan answered the call.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder finished with 103 yards on 20 carries while delivering a back-breaking 62-yard sprint up the middle late in the third and another score late to put the game on ice.
“He’s one of the biggest pieces,” Pinzone said. “He’s absolutely the guy that we hang our hat on and our offense goes through him. It’s a team game, but we expect Ethan to make plays for us.”
The third-quarter score turned around what had been a back-and-forth battle.
After Beckett tied things with 2:53 left in the half on an 18-yeard sprint, Zamiska threw a 14-yard TD pass to Flanigan on a fade to give Brunswick momentum heading into the half. Zamiska finished the game 8-for-14 passing, with six of those tosses to Flanigan for 66 yards.
Becket found his favorite wideout, Deviian Williams (7 catches, 124 yards), from 36 yards to pull Elyria to 17-16 early in the third quarter. The extra point attempt by Caleb Lewis clanged the left upright.
“That was a big momentum swing (just before the half), but we came right back out and got within one,” Pioneers coach Sean Arno said. “We made some adjustments and liked what we did. They couldn’t stop it. It’s a shame.”
After the Flanigan long-distance run at the end of the third, Elyria had an eight-play drive halted on fourth-and-3 at the Brunswick 21 when the shotgun snap went over Beckett’s head.
Lavinder scored minutes later to put the Blue Devils up 31-16.
“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks — we really have — and I’m proud of the way our guys stepped up and have stuck together,” Pinzone said. “We’re still trying to learn how to close games, and I think we took a step to getting better at that.
“There are some goals that we have in our lap that are still in our grasp. Certainly a winning season is on the table and the playoffs are still in front of us, but we have a big one at Euclid (next week). They’re fast and they’re playing great over there. We’re going to try and get after it.”
The latest Brunswick Athletic Hall of Fame class was honored prior to the game. The inducees are 2007 graduate Dustin Zielaskiewicz (football/baseball) and the 1986 softball team coached by Howard Cook.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
Brunswick 38, Elyria 23
ELYRIA 3 7 6 7 — 23
BRUNSWICK 7 10 7 14 — 38
B — Cole Zamiska 83 run (Nick Demonte kick), 8:16.
E — Caleb Lewis 24 field goal, 3:44.
B — Demonte 20 field goal, 11:22.
E — Dontae Beckett 18 run (Lewis kick), 2:53.
B — Ethan Flanigan 14 pass from Zamiska (Demonte kick), 0:30.
E — Deviian Williams 36 pass from Beckett (kick failed), 9:11.
B — Flanigan 62 run (Demonte kick), 4:03.
B — Dakota Lavinder 21 run (Demonte kick), 8:35.
B — Flanigan 3 run (Demonte kick), 5:57.
E — Adaveon Drummer (Lewis kick), 3:41.